Conditions in winter can be challenging, making driving tricky.
Wet and icy roads mean that our tyres need that little extra care and focus to make sure they’re in a roadworthy condition. But don’t worry, we’ve got all the information you need to help guide you and your tyres safely through the cold months ahead.
Use the correct type of tyre
It’s easy to consider ways of maintaining our tyres while overlooking the most important factor of all: do you have the correct tyres for the job?
Our tyres are the only point of contact between our vehicles and the road. They’re vital for braking, turning, accelerating and creating a smooth ride quality. Despite this, most motorists in the UK drive throughout winter with summer tyres that aren’t suitable for the conditions.
In the UK we have three types of tyres, all with different strengths:
- Summer tyres – The tyre type that most drivers in the UK use, even in winter. However, the tyre is designed to perform well in the dry and rain, but the performance levels drop after the temperatures begin to plummet.
- Winter tyres – Although named winter tyres, these are more of an extreme weather tyre, suitable for drivers who experience frequent icy and snowy conditions. They’re not suitable for driving in the summer months.
- All-season tyres – An all-rounder that is designed to perform in both summer and winter conditions. Unlike the other two options, these can be used year-round and don’t need to be changed as the weather changes. If you’re looking for a tyre that suits all weathers, then choose the all-season tyre.
For UK drivers, an all-season tyre is usually the best choice as our winters tend to be mild and a winter tyre should be used in more extreme conditions.
Change all four tyres at once
Maintaining a car can be expensive business. Only changing two tyres may seem like an easy cost-cutting measure.
However, if you own a four-wheel drive vehicle, it’s best to change all four tyres at once. Only changing two can cause issues with the drive system, which can cause excessive wear on tyres.
For rear or front-wheel drive vehicles, most manufacturers advise that tyres are changed in axle pairs. However, it’s advisable to change all four tyres at once for optimum tyre performance and degradation.
Keep an eye on tyre pressure
Cold temperatures have a surprisingly big impact on tyre pressure. Over the course of a winter, your tyres could deflate by a significant amount. Not good for you or your tyres as tyres with low pressure are more likely to suffer sudden deflation.
To avoid this, regularly check the pressures. We’d advise doing so monthly. There are lots of tyre pressure gauges that you can use to help.
All cars made after 2014 have a built-in tyre pressure monitoring system that will notify you when the tyre pressure is too low. However, it’s best to still manually check your tyres to be sure.
Wash your tyres
Keeping your car clean throughout winter is frustrating stuff. You get it shining only for it to get dirty as soon as you go for your next drive.
Don’t be deterred by this, as cleaning your car is important for getting rid of dirt, salts and other muck that could cause damage and corrosion. For your tyres, dirt may also conceal major issues that could cause problems out on the road.
Check tyre tread depth
Which leads us neatly on to our final point: regularly check your tyre tread depth.
You need grippy tyres more than ever in the winter, so avoid using tyres with worn down tread. By law, you must have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm, but for winter we’d advise changing your tyres long before they reach this stage. Try to check yours tyres monthly – you can use the Halfords Digital Tyre Pressure and Tread Gauge to help.
Also take every opportunity to examine for any damage such as bulges, splits or punctures. It may be the last thing you want to do after arriving home in the dark and cold, but it’s definitely worth it.
Are your tyres road legal? Find out with the help of our guide to tread depths.
Let Halfords help
Here at Halfords, we like to make life as easy as possible. That’s why we offer a safe and contactless Free Tyre Check. In it, one of our trained technicians will check both the pressure and tread depth of the tyres, making sure they are safe for winter driving.
To make sure your car is winter ready, why not also use our 10-Point Winter Car Health Check. In it, a technician will check your vehicle’s tyres, headlights and brake lights, battery, windscreen, oil level, screen wash level and AdBlue and coolant level.
If you need more help getting the right tyres, head over to our tyres advice and buying guides where there’s lots more information.
You want your tyres to safely navigate this winter. You want Halfords.